Photographer turns beach and marine waste into art project

PUBLISHED: 19:00 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:00 09 February 2018

Jacob Dear used biodegradable paper to display his exhibit.

Jacob Dear used biodegradable paper to display his exhibit.

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A Burnham-on-Sea photographer has created a unique art exhibit entirely from waste found washed up on beaches.

Jacob Dear is displaying his environment project, Eight Million Tonnes, at Calm café, in High Street, to highlight the problem facing many seaside towns across the country.

Using photographs of rubbish collected from Burnham, Berrow and Brean beaches, Jacob recreated the images using biodegradable paper, water-based ink and paste which is environmentally friendly to stick the display outside the cafe.

Speaking about his project, Jacob said: “The idea behind this exhibit is that over time it will eventually degrade, unlike the physical items themselves which I originally found three years ago.

“My mum was walking our dog along Burnham beach and noticed the amount of plastics and other non-biodegradable items washed up.

“I thought this would have made an interesting photography project, but the more I found out about the issue, the more interested I became.”

Jacob has displayed his artwork at Calm cafe. Picture: Mark Newman.Jacob has displayed his artwork at Calm cafe. Picture: Mark Newman.

MORE: Council encouraging staff to cut down plastic as part of Cleaner Coastlines campaign.

The 22-year-old began his work in 2015 as part of his photography studies at University Centre Weston, but decided to relaunch it following the recent exposure television programme Blue Planet II gave to the issue.

The name Eight Million Tonnes comes from the amount of waste dumped in the sea each year, affecting coastlines and marine life.

Burnham followed Weston Town Council’s lead after it unanimously supported the Surfers Against Sewage initiative last November.

MORE: Burnham’s town council unanimously backs plastic-free coastline campaign.

Jacob added: “Due to the massive uproar towards marine debris over the past couple of months, I felt it was time to 
show that the problem is only getting worse.

“The Environment Secretary pledged for action to be taken against ocean plastics last year, but I feel this still isn’t enough.

“We can all play our part in solving this problem because we are the ones who have the power to change our environment and to change what happens to our oceans.”

Calm owner Tiff Louise Lin added: “We wanted to collaborate with Jacob on the photographs because it’s an issue we really care about.

“It is a beautiful project and Jacob’s artwork carries a really thought-provoking message.”

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